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About Fletcher

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    travel to far-flung places
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    South Pacific

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  1. I see that the Ovation recently changed position and has now joined the Quest and the Sojourn off the coast of Cyprus. Must be quite a sight and probably an OK place to sit out the winter.
  2. I've never heard of farro before, knowing that the same foods sometimes have different names in the US and the UK. Looking it up it seems to be something like a cross between couscous and pearl barley.
  3. That looks like an old Maserati 3200GT behind your pussycat . . .
  4. An interesting event on our front lawn the other day. Who needs to go to South America or Africa for this sort of carnage?
  5. I knew Ponant had smoking issues but I didn't know Hapag-Lloyd still allowed smoking on balconies. Ponant, too, have fabulous itineraries. I have also noted that on their Baltic cruises Regent are now including the fascinating Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Seabourn sail right past.
  6. Hapag-Lloyd have the best/most interesting itineraries and I know the new ships are wonderful but I've always been slightly put off by the 'German only' language on most of their cruises, despite the fact that they say the crew are bi-lingual. But with Covid this might not be such a problem and I'll look again at the 'German only' itinerary which attracts me most of all - Taiwan to Fiji aboard the Hanseatic Spirit. I too miss the Seabourn style and ambience but their unchanging itineraries are just so . . . . boring?
  7. Another foodie pic, this time of a light summery supper dish of gnocchi, tomato sauce and burrata. I'm not ashamed to admit to using shop-bought gnocchi. I made this tomato sauce by softening onion and fennel in olive oil, adding grated garlic and a pinch of dried chilli, then some tom puree dissolved in dry vermouth, then a small tin of chopped tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Simmer the whole thing for an hour or so. Bring salted water to the boil and tumble in the gnocchi and simmer until they start to float to the surface. Plate the gnocchi and sauce and then add the burrata which needs careful attention: drain the tennis ball-sized cheese and bring to room temperature. Never serve burrata straight from the fridge. Then tear it apart, never slice it, and drape the delectably creamy bits across your dish. Adorn with parsley and basil. Pretty as a picture, just like this one -
  8. While many people in the UK are complaining that they cannot get a Covid test, or are told to drive many hundreds of miles to a test centre, our own personal situation is strikingly different. I think Mrs Fletcher and I are highly unlikely to catch the virus because of our lifestyle and because of the remote location where we live. But somehow my wife's name came up on a research programme and both of us have been offered weekly tests for a month and then monthly tests for a further three months. On each occasion a member of the research team will visit our house and give us the testing kit and take it away for immediate analysis. And not only that, we are being paid £50 for the first test and £25 for each subsequent test. We can quit the programme at any time. I must say, I feel slightly guilty about this but it's a mad world right now. And did anyone see the David Attenborough programme last night? Talk about depressing. It made me feel ashamed to be a member of the human race.
  9. That does look tasty and I do approve of your stock making. I always throw shells from prawns etc into the freezer for a second life. Some saffron threads in the stock adds flavour and colour. A bit of chopped parsley might have perked your dish up a bit???
  10. Last night it was crab risotto. We live in Norfolk, in the east of England, and crab is a local speciality. It's called Cromer Crab which is quite different to other crabs, such as those in the west of England, as they are quite small and have a high ratio of brown meat to white. They are especially sweet and the brown meat is conducive to making into a near-sauce. My risotto consists of separating brown from white meat. Add lemon juice to the brown meat and mix well. Then sauté red onion and chopped fennel until softened, then add some garlic, fennel seeds and dried chilli flakes, then some baby toms, then the rice, some vermouth or white wine, finally the fish or shellfish stock, ladle by ladle. The trick is not to add the crab to the simmering rice mixture. Take it off the heat, wait a minute or two, then add brown and white meat along with chopped fennel leaves and Italian parsley. Serve with extra olive oil, ciabatta and a nice white wine.
  11. On the Quest we had 742, midships, which is good for stability. We also love Deck 7 as you can wander down to Seabourn Square for an early morning coffee and pastry and perhaps take it out on deck or scan the newspapers on the iPads or even write your blog for Cruise Critic. If sailing from Santiago a port side cabin is perhaps a slight advantage.
  12. I think in normal times that would be a shrewd idea. Noble Caledonia has a niche market and does extremely well somehow without having a public or internet presence. Their prices are as high as Silversea - they short change everyone on the luxury but offer a fabulous expedition experience if things go without a hitch.
  13. Tonight it was roast belly of pork - my favourite over lamb or beef. We get it from a specialist butcher and the breed is called Gloucester Old Spot. It never fails with fabulous crispiest crackling. I don't understand people who take the crackling off the joint and cook it separately. Tonight I served it with dumplings, braised red cabbage and apple sauce, all made from scratch of course, plus a light jus from the roasting juices. It's not a particularly elegant-looking dish but, gosh, it's seriously tasty. We chose a Rioja to drink with it, although I sometimes think this is a vaguely Alsace-style dish and drink a Reisling with it.
  14. Montbazillac isn't a viognier - Condrieu - wine, but a super sweet relative of Sauternes, I think. It's become rather difficult these days to find Sauternes because they are just so out of fashion. I did read recently that even D'Yquem is likely to go out of business.
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